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While I Was Away

OK, I've returned from my hiatus. Let's review what happened while I was away.

* Gil Hodges didn't get into the Hall of Fame
That's unfortunate, because he deserves it, and I have a feeling what's holding him back is a lack of appreciation from those whose careers began after Hodges' untimely death. Perhaps Tom Seaver would be wise to educate them on facts such as this, gleaned from Hodges' Wikipedia bio: Of the 21 players who had 300+ career home runs at the time of Hodges' retirement, Hodges is the only one not in the Hall of Fame.

True Metges know: Hodges had the second walk-off hit in Mets history, just a few hours after the first, a game-winning home run against the Braves, in game 2 of a doubleheader on May 12, 1962.

* Spring Training games began, and the Mets got a walk-off win
We don't count spring games in our tally, but if we did, we'd probably spend some space singing the praises of Carlos Gomez, who we got to see in one appearance for the Binghamton Mets last season, and though he didn't impress us, we've heard a lot of good things. Perhaps this is the Carlos we should have had up with two outs in the 9th in Game 7 (sorry, couldn't resist!), although a fly out (Gomez won the March 2 game against the Cardinals with a sacrifice fly) would have done little good in that situation.

True Metez know: Carlos Baerga is the Mets leader in walk-off RBI by a Carlos with 3. Beltran ranks second with 2. Delgado is the only other Mets Carlos with one.

* David Wright expressed "Baseball Lust" for Alex Rodriguez
This kind of news: David Wright going all kissypoo over the possibility of A-Rod signing with the Mets next winter, is rather uninteresting to me. That's next year's fodder for conversation, and for once, Next Year Isn't Now. As a colleague at work has said to me about another sport: "I like the games" and I'm beginning to feel more and more that way each day. I like the games. But I'm starting not to like the games. That's what these media sessions have turned into, and as I've said many times, I'm much more interested in actions than words. In other "news," Aaron Heilman continues to look for a parking spot...

True Metrods know...David Wright trails Alex Rodriguez by only three walk-off RBI. Wright has 4 for his career, all coming last season. Rodriguez has seven, but has played many more games than Wright.

I got my walk-off
Not that anyone necessarily gives a squirt (yes, I actually saw this word subbed in for "sh-t" in a sportscasting book, no less), but I had a particularly incredible 10 days of broadcasting basketball games. You may recall this post from a month ago in which I lamented the number of walk-offs in my broadcasting lifetime, but after this booth stint, I have no such complaints. In the last two weeks, I broadcast 11 small-college basketball games. Within that span, I saw the following:

* A team go from 2-10 in its league to tournament champions after three straight wins, all decided in the final minute. That they lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (also a close game) doesn't bother me too much.

* A one-point league championship game in which each team went scoreless for the final 4:30.

* And last but not least, a league championship won on a 40-foot shot, at the buzzer (for the record, my call was "Simpson, for the win....Good!!!"

It was particularly satisfying to get to call that contest and it was everything you could have asked for as a broadcaster. It is funny though, how you plan and plan and plan and come up with every possible scenario for how a game is going to end, and then you see something more unlikely than you could imagine.

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Cliff Notes

Alright, so it's 2 days later and the challenge for me now, after reading through about a dozen game stories and listening to talk radio, is to provide a fresh perspective on walk-off #324. If you're going to be a serious reader of this blog, you know what happened already, so let's look at what made this particular walk-off stand out. It would seem that the place to start is with the idea that everything broke just right on both sides of the ball. Particularly, I'm talking about Carlos Beltran's catch in the 7th inning, where he went over the center field fence to rob Jose Molina of a home run. Every no-hitter seems to have one defensive gem that makes it possible and perhaps that's true of great walk-off moments as well (We'll be looking into that!) Marlon Anderson's home run required a remarkable combination of events. It was only the sixth inside-the-park home run at Shea Stadium by a Met and the first since Darryl Strawberry in 1989. It required t